The Jets face an incredibly tough challenge tonight in a trip to New England.
They are currently riding a five-game losing streak — the team’s worst with head coach Rex Ryan at the helm.
The Patriots may not be quite as scary as in years past, but they are still the class of the AFC East and their offense is starting to heat up.
While the Jets aren’t quite as bad as their 1-5 record would indicate, this team needs a win in the worst way. With another loss, they could well be poised for a fourth straight season without the playoffs. And another year with the playoffs could mean a new head coach in 2015.
Metro takes a look at three storylines to watch as the Jets travel to face the Patriots on Thursday Night Football (8:30 p.m., CBS).
1. Secondary changes
The Jets secondary and their collective struggle is well documented this year, but New England’s pass defense is the complete opposite.
The Pats rank third in the NFL, allowing just 208.5 yards per game. This could mean a long night for the Jets, whose passing offense is fourth worst in the league, averaging 182 yards per game. Remember when the New England secondary was the weakness of the team? The times, they be are a-changin’. And yes, Darrelle Revis, the former Jet, is a big reason why. The three-time All Pro with New York will be matched up one-on-one with Eric Decker all night. We saw how poor the Jets were two weeks ago without their top receiver.
2. How about some points?
The Jets had a touchdown drive in the first quarter and the middle of the fourth quarter in last week’s 31-17 loss to the Broncos. But smack in the middle of the game, the offense went colder than an ice cream parlor.
There’s been inconsistency from the offense and the inability to sustain drives and move down the field puts undue pressure on the defense to play mistake-free football.
“Just scoring points. There’s no easy answer to it,” quarterback Geno Smith said. “There’s a bunch of things that we can kind of point at, but we’ve just got to score more points and whatever it takes to do so is what we have to do.”
The Jets found some success with tight end Jace Amaro last week, but they’ll also have to emphasize a sagging running game if they are going to compete with the high-powered Patriots.
3. Brady being Brady
His numbers aren’t quite as majestic as years past, but Tom Brady is still getting it done up in Foxboro.
He is still on pace for 27 touchdowns and five interceptions despite a larger emphasis on the running game. It is especially impressive as the Pats have struggled in their pass protection. After scoring just 16 points in a narrow win over the Raiders in Week 3, the Pats are averaging 40 points per game in three straight blowout wins.
“I’m happy we’re scoring more points. That’s what we’re going to need to do this week,” Brady said. “The only way to score points is good execution on a consistent basis. I think that’s probably what we’ve been doing better on a consistent better is executing better. But really whatever’s happened the past two weeks makes no difference going into this game because this a totally different entity.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.